Donated New Clips Tell Fun Wartime Stories

There are people who clip stuff out of newspapers just because that stuff is neat, and one such was a member of the Hopkins Family that lived in North Ogden in the 1920s through at least the 1950s.


Oh brother, did they ever. I’m guessing it was Effie Hopkins, wife of Nephi Hopkins, a farmer in North Ogden.


Mrs. Hopkins wielded a mean pair of scissors. We’re talking about a cubic yard, no kidding, of news clippings, most from the Standard-Examiner. There’s some whole papers, but heaps and heaps of clips.


Obituaries, social notes, wedding notes, interesting news stories about President Roosevelt and his dog Falla, and more and more.


A lot of the clips are dreck, to be honest, but some are gems. The Japanese have surrendered and the EXTRA that the Standard put out that day is here — a treasure if ever there was one.


The clips filled two steel boxes that, I am guessing, the family discovered sitting in a storage room after Effie or one of her descendants died, didn’t have the heart to toss, and so donated them to Union Station’s archive. They may have seen one of the several columns I did in the S-E pleading with people not to toss old papers of any sort.


Now I get to sort through this stuff. Talk about hoist on my own petard.


So I’m digging, tossing out stray comics (would you believe there was a time Dagwood Bumstead was not obsessed with food?), knitting and crochet patterns, movie star pictures and so on. This lady saved everything.


There’s also a fair number of old letters, brochures and so forth. There’s a postal card from the local Selective Service board to a young male member of the family asking him to call which, I am guessing, was greeted with great joy.


So today I’m fishing through and I find what you see pictured here: A World War II Gasoline ration book.


Ah, yes, those fond old days when wars meant shared sacrifice and people were told to economize because we had a war to pay for. Interesting historical note: The US was a major oil producer during WWII and actually had lots of gasoline. What it didn’t have was rubber, so the government rationed gasoline to keep tires from wearing out.


Clever, huh?


This little book was issued to Nephi Hopkins, Box 324, North Ogden on April 1, 1944. He drove a 1930 Ford.


I’d heard of these but never seen one, being a post-war baby boomer, so I walked into the other room to show my find to Slim Jolley, another volunteer up here.


“Oh, that brings back memories,” she said, and it did.


Slim was born in 1937, and so lived through all the rationing and stuff as a child, including occasional shortages.


“I used to tell my mother that that was OK, I didn’t mind we didn’t have any meat because I didn’t like it,” she said. Meat, too, was rationed, along with flour, sugar and many other staples. To this day Slim is not fond of meat.


She said she and her parents were visiting family in 1941, “and I was sitting on the ice cream freezer and I told my parents I had to go to the bathroom, so they said go ahead.


“I went inside and my Uncle was there and he had one of those big radios and he was sitting with his ear up to it, listening to it, and Walter Winchell was on, and you know how he was so dramatic.  He was talking about some place called Pearl Harbor and that it had been bombed.


“So I went back outside and asked my father ‘Where’s Pearl Harbor?’ and he said, “Hawaii. Why?”


“And I said ‘Walter Winchell just said it’s been bombed.’  They had no idea.”


Can you imagine the moment? I got shivers listening to her tell that story.





I also found this story from Dec. 21, 1951, about a woman who made a very different wartime discovery.


Apparently Agnes Sasser, of Atlanta, was notified in May of 1951 that her first husband, Pfc. Walter Dixon, was missing in action and presumed dead during the Korean War. Agnes didn’t spend a lot of time mourning, or had already warmed up her engines while Walter was off fighting, because she married Pfc. William Sasser in September.


Come December, the War Department tells her that her first husband, Walter Dixon, isn’t dead after all, but is a POW.


Wouldn’t you like to know how that worked out? So would I, and the clip may be here somewhere.